Through the Eyes of a Nerd is a new little ‘meme’ I’ll be running on my blog about films I have recently watched at the cinema/films on TV/I own or TV series. It will be anything visual really with a little analysis from me on my thoughts etc…
This week I’m going to take a look at Life of Pi. I went to see this between Christmas and New Year and I have to stay, the visuals were absolutely stunning. The only problem I had was I had to watch it in 3D and frankly sitting for 2 hours hurt my head by the end of things.
Life of Pi is definitely a movie with meaning. It is not something that you can simply overlook, it really makes you look inside yourself and think ‘what do I really believe?’ but it doesn’t force it down your throat like I quite expected, it’s so subtle. Pi is struggling to decide his faith and thereby associate himself with an identity and what this faith means and to who he should worship and the Life of Pi definitely focuses on him testing this to its limits. However it does it in an innovative, engaging and insightful way that didn’t make the 2 hours boring for me. I was moved by the visual, the emotion and the heart-wrenching performance by Surja Sharma who is pretty much our main focus on the film is pretty astounding. He does incredibly well to play his solo performance on the boat without it becoming mind-numbingly boring.
The tiger in the film is simply stunning and I loved all the animals and how they got incorporated into the film because the CGI was pretty astounding.
The other animals seemed really realistic with the zebras and hyenas. They even had my mum asking me if they were real or fake by the end because she couldn’t tell.
I think Life of Pi excelled itself on the levels of CGI because it managed to hold realism whilst still clearly exploring points of faith and the unbelievable and whether such things could truly exist.
This has to be one of my favourite scenes in the movie where Pi is sat upon the rafter surrounded by jellyfish beneath him that light up the sea and the stars are in the sky. It looks really incredible and it’s so sedate and immersing that you just relax and think. There are very few movies that enable you to feel in a state of bliss and calm and still manages to keep you awake and engaged at every stage in my opinion. Life of Pi seems to be a rare exception.
Visually on a widescreen you couldn’t get anything more impacting and profound. I think on an aesthetic level the elements of Life of Pi added to the meaning beneath the surface with how bold and emphasised they were. Everything seemed to be in the extremes and rather slow and drawn out, but far from making the plot cumbersome, I think this only added to the pace and allowing the meaning to sink in and you to really get drawn into the film.
There are time jumps within Life of Pi, so we don’t spend the whole story focused on Pi on a boat. We originally look at his time in India and are introduced to his adult self who looks back to tell the story. I particularly like the time jumps in the narrative to chop and change things and make it all a little unpredictable because we were slowly drawn from the world of the present into the past. Although the past felt incredibly realistic in how absorbing it was that once again it felt like the present, so the narrative jumps serve to wrench you from one place to another, but there was sufficient time between each jump to allow you to become immersed in the tale and not feel like you were a ping-pong ball.
Obviously I can’t determine how true a reflection Life of Pi is off the book, but I do believe it has been made a little more children friendly with the rating of a PG (Parental Guidance) meaning a few of the more gory scenes and nakedness is removed or toned down to make for more wider viewing audience. However, I’ve heard that it is a fairly accurate representation of the book and not too much is changed, which is always a positive thing. I think Life of Pi on the big screen is simply something worth seeing. Either way, the meaning of Life of Pi isn’t really a kiddie film even with the animals, I would recommend this to people who are looking for a little more in life’s meaning or some simply stunning cinematography.
Overall Life of Pi surprised me immensely and apart from hurting my eyes with the silly 3D glasses, I’d recommend everybody goes see this film if not just to watch all the amazing cinematic visuals and CGI scenes that are totally awesome and not terrible fake like some films. Through the eyes of a nerd, they looked pretty seamless. For a film that stepped out of my comfort zone and that didn’t have a lot of action, it kept me riveted and it really challenged my thoughts on faith and the end was pretty poignant. After seeing the film, it made me want to try the book which one of my friends has read several times, so hopefully I shall find the book equally as thought-provoking if not more than the film.